Russian Soyuz fails on commercial-satellite mission

A SOYUZ U BOOSTER launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on 14 May failed to place a Kometa-class reconnaissance satellite into orbit. The spacecraft was due to provide 2m-resolution images of the USA for US Aerial Images, as part of a commercial contract with the Russian company Sovinformsputnik.

The spacecraft was also to provide reconnaissance images for the Russian defence ministry.

The payload shroud of the Soyuz booster broke into four parts at T+49s, the four strap-on boosters separated as planned at T+120s, and the vehicle went off course. The core-stage engines were commanded to shut down and the rocket plunged into Kazakhstan.

The Ariane V86/44L successfully launched Indonesia's Palapa C2 on 16 May.

Source: Flight International